Wednesday June 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Banks with most closures

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Money has launched. Lendio Employee Contribution Program funds 2,800 loans through Kiva. Goldman funds Yirendai. Nubank opens 1.5M digital accounts. Today’s main analysis: UK banks are closing branches faster. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs is transitioning into a consumer-facing bank. Europe’s IPO market is heating up. SoftBank yanks startups from Renren. The rise of […]

Banks with most closures

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Brazil

News Summary

United States

Are you ready to ditch your bank? SoFi is betting its future on it (Fast Company) Rated: AAA

At first glance, SoFi’s banking app, which launches in beta today, is no different from the existing options on the market. It comes with a debit card, enables peer-to-peer payments, and accepts mobile check deposits. The interface, like that of many banking apps, is dominated by a blue-and-white color scheme. But in the details, there is a hint of SoFi’s bigger ambitions. SoFi Money, as the product is known, sets the stage for the fintech company to become both a financial hub and lucrative recommendation engine for its 500,000-plus members.

Source: Fast Company

Goldman Will Pay Big Money for Cash — Yes, Even Your Measly Savings (The Street) Rated: AAA

The Wall Street investment bank is trying to transform itself into a broader financial-services company like bigger rivals Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. So a couple years ago, Goldman expanded beyond its traditional clientele — elite corporations, big investors and the super-rich — to provide retail banking through a new website called Marcus. The company now offers both personal loans and savings accounts, with a minimum deposit of just $1. So, ordinary people can apply.

But here’s why you should take a look now: Since New York-based Goldman is trying to build up the business rapidly, it’s offering some of the highest rates on savings deposits in the U.S. – currently 1.7%. That compares with near-zero rates at the biggest retail banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Lendio Employee Contribution Program Funds 2,800 Loans in 78 Countries Through Kiva (ABC6) Rated: AAA

Lendio announced today that Lendio Gives, its employee contribution and employer matching program, has provided more than $70,000 in microloans to 2,800 underserved entrepreneurs in 78 countries through Kiva. In May, Lendio ranked 6th among Kiva’s Internal Business Groups for total fundings, with over 300 new loans funded.

5 Best and Fast Small-Business Loans (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Also, find out how much you can actually afford to borrow by calculating your Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). To figure out your DSCR, you simply divide your net operating income by your total debt service. With some lenders, you can get away with a 1.0 ratio; however, most lenders prefer a DSCR that shows your annual net operating income is higher than your total debt, such as a DSCR of 1.35 and above.

Finastra acquires Malauzai (Payment Journal) Rated: A

Finastra has acquired Malauzai, a provider of mobile and Internet banking solutions for community financial institutions. The deal reflects Finastra’s commitment to the US retail and business banking sectors by further enabling digital transformation for community banks and credit unions across the country.

The acquisition is built on an already successful and proven partnership between Finastra and Malauzai, which saw the latter’s digital solution integrated into Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix core banking system.

Fees Not Hidden, LendingCorp Says In Challenge To FTC Suit (Law 360) Rated: A

LendingClub Corp. asked a California federal judge Monday to toss a Federal Trade Commission suit claiming the online lender falsely promises consumers their loans come with “no hidden fees,” arguing that its origination fee is noted on its website in at least three places.

The San Francisco-based company asserts in its motion to dismiss that an origination fee, deducted when loan funds are initially disbursed, is not hidden, and the FTC knows it.

5 Companies to Watch as Tech Takes Aim at the Finance Industry (PR Newswire) Rated: A

The $8.5 trillion U.S. financial services industry is going through a dramatic transformation, with incumbents fending off upstart fintech companies that promise to disrupt their old ways of doing business.

#1 Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL)- PayPal processed approximately $49 billion in mobile payment volume in the first quarter, which is up 52 percent from a year earlier. Mobile payments actually account for 37 percent of Paypal’s entire payment volume.

#2 QPAGOS (QPAG)-QPAGOS (QPAG) is upending this dynamic industry, with what some like to call small “super-banks” deposited on street corners, in supermarkets, or an endless number of other convenient locations.

#4 Alibaba (NYSE: BABA)-Alibaba is quickly becoming one of the world’s hottest companies thanks to its innovative approach to technology.

Fintech entrepreneurs show why finance masters are not just for bankers (Financial Times) Rated: A

Some of the world’s most successful companies have been formed by founders quitting university to nurture their start-ups, not least the Harvard dropouts Bill Gates, of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook.

But a small yet significant number of students on masters in finance degrees do the opposite, enrolling to improve their core finance knowledge.

Maximilian Voigt applied for a place on the masters degree in financial economics at Saïd Business School at Oxford university shortly after co-founding Gründermaschine, an incubator for early stage fintech ventures in Frankfurt.

New Credit Card Startup Lands $ 50 Million From PayPal Mafia And Other Investors (Forbes) Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco company that offers a corporate credit card for startups, has launched its first product and raised $50 million in new investment, bringing its total funding to $57 million. PayPal founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel contributed to the Series B financing round, in addition to fintech venture capital firm Ribbit Capital, early Facebook investor Yuri Milner and former Visa CEO Carl Pascarella.

The startup has a new model for determining whether companies are creditworthy. Instead of focusing on founders’ personal credit history or a company’s expected profits, it looks at the amount of money a startup has in its bank account, and it sets a credit limit that’s typically 10% of that total.

People are getting loans to pay for their vacations (Market Watch) Rated: A

Affirm charges interest, but presents that total as a flat fee at the beginning of the payment process, which was more comforting than putting the big purchases on a credit card, she said.

The fee varies depending on the customer’s creditworthiness and the time period during which they plan to pay.

Phillips isn’t alone. In recent years, companies have increasingly allowed travelers to book airfare, hotels and amusement-park tickets, with the promise they’ll pay later.

LendingTree Reveals How Your Neighbors Are Utilizing Equity in Their Homes (Lending Tree) Rated: A

Home improvement tops the list of uses for home equity loans. The most common use was home improvement, at 43 percent of home equity loan requests.
Real estate investors borrow the most. Borrowers who were looking to invest in another property had the highest property values and requested loan amounts. For property investments, borrowers requested an average of $103,625.
For non-property investments, which likely include small businesses, borrowers requested $80,241.
Just over 1 percent of requests were to fund retirement. Not surprisingly, this cohort had the highest average age of 63 — 12 years above the next highest average age.
A small share accessed their home equity for emergency expenses. This group had the lowest loan amount requested of $35,747 and kept their LTV low at 51 percent.
Debt consolidators push the limits on LTV. Borrowers looking to consolidate debt had the highest LTV of 74 percent.

Klarna Launches First U.S. Out-of-Home Marketing Campaign (Klarna Email) Rated: B

Klarna is mounting its first out-of-home marketing campaign in the U.S. in three-cities. Elements of the campaign will appear in San Francisco, New York City and Columbus, Ohio, beginning the week of June 18.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds John Merille as Director of Originations (Markets Insider) Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“WOCF”) announced today the addition of John Merille as Senior Vice President and Director of Originations.

MoneyLion Appoints Jon Stevenson as New Head of Wealth Management and Banking (Business Wire) Rated: B

MoneyLion Inc., the financial operating system revolutionizing the way Americans save, invest, borrow, and build their credit, announced today that Jon Stevenson has joined the company as the new Head of Wealth Management and Banking.

In this role, Stevenson is responsible for developing simplified, accessible solutions that address the financial challenges faced by millions of Americans every day. He will help MoneyLion Plus members create investment plans that align with their unique circumstances and goals – services traditionally reserved for high-net-worth individuals through their Financial Advisor.

United Kingdom

LendInvest ups proc fees for NACFB registered brokers (Mortgage Strategy) Rated: AAA

Specialist lender LendInvest is upping procurement fees for NACFB registered brokers.

The lender currently offers 1 per cent proc fee as standard for bridging deals but is increasing this to 1.2 per cent exclusively for NACFB registered brokers.

LendInvest currently partners with the NACFB to run property development academies for brokers.

UK banks are increasingly closing branches (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Here are some key statistics about branch closures:

  • Branch closures are accelerating. In 2016, 630 bank branches and building societies closed. This number increased nearly 40% to 879 in 2017. Meanwhile, 670 branches have already been closed or are due to close by the end of June, suggesting that this number will probably far higher this year.
  • Most branches have closed in Scotland. Not all regions in the UK have seen the same level of closures, and Scotland is currently leading the way with 368 closed branches, followed by the Southeast and Southwest, with 361 and 327, respectively. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, has only seen 44 branches close, so far. The trend toward closing branches probably depends in part on demand from customers, so branches in rural areas or with an older demographic may be more likely to stay open.
Source: Business Insider

The Starling Bank roadmap: What’s next for 2018? (Starling Bank) Rated: A

This means that more Starling customers will now be able to use their smartphone and wearable devices as a fast and secure way to pay almost anywhere that contactless payments are accepted and without ever having to get their card from their wallet.

Plus new customers on Android will be able to add their sparkling new Starling debit card to their Google Pay wallet straight from our app meaning that, like our iOS customers, you can start spending within minutes of opening your account!

Lending Standards Board to extend remit to P2P (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE LENDING Standards Board (LSB) has revealed plans to extend its Standards of Lending Practice to the peer-to-peer lending and invoice finance sectors next year.

The voluntary standards came into effect in 2017 for loans, credit cards, overdrafts and charge cards.

UK Fintech Plum Returns to Seedrs: Now Seeking £850,000 in Funding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Less than a year after securing nearly £925,000 through its first equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, Plum, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot for personal finance, has returned to the funding portal, seeking an additional £850,000 in funding.

China

Yirendai Obtains Institutional Funding from Goldman Sachs (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”) announced today that Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking firm, has provided the Company with RMB 324 million of funding for a term of 3 years.

Hexindai Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fourth Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 Operational Highlights

  • Total loan volume facilitated (1was US$418.4 million (RMB2.7 billion) during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 236.7% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Gross billing amount (net of VAT)(2was US$31.8 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 231.1% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Gross billing ratio (net of VAT)(3) for credit loans was 7.6% during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, a decrease from 8.1% during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Number of borrowers (4) was 33,322 during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 285.2% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Number of investors (5) was 62,039 during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 103.2% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.

LexinFintech sees installment payments boosting China’s domestic consumption (Shine) Rated: A

Installment payments are helping to power China’s domestic consumption and sales of online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s installment finance platform Fenqile surged 220 percent during an e-commerce shopping festival.

Fenqile, translated as “Instalment Pleasure” in Chinese, lets consumers buy electronic equipment like mobile phones and consumer accessories such as handbags on credit and repay the loan in installments.

Sales of Shenzhen-based LexinFintech’s Fenqile surged 220 percent during the annual 618 e-commerce shopping festival on Monday, a major mid-year shopping event initiated by e-commerce giant JD.com.

European Union

Europe’s IPO market heats up, and unicorns are getting in line (CNBC) Rated: AAA

So far this year, 27 IPOs totaling $32.5 billion have been launched in Europe, eclipsing the 57 listings worth $8.28 billion last year, according to dealroom.co, an Amsterdam firm that tracks fast-growing companies. The big difference this year is not the number of listings, which has been fairly steady in recent years, but the size of the valuations of the companies. “There is a clear emergence of unicorns after a few years of increasing investment in the venture capital sector,” said Gilles Babinet, a French serial entrepreneur.

Swedish digital payments firm Izettle should have been the next head-turner for investors, but PayPal swooped in with an offer of $2.2 billion — twice the IPO value.

Building the digital investment bank of the future – Interview with Simona Vaitkune, CEO of Fast Invest (EU Startups) Rated: A

Fast Invest is a European P2P lending investment facilitator platform specialising in low-risk, medium-high return investment opportunities. With one successful ICO crowdsale behind and one currently ongoing, the company is now embarking on a blockchain enabled global expansion. Fast Invest is headquartered in London, with offices in Milan and Warsaw, and already employs a team of about 50 people.

We recently had the opportunity to talk with the founder and CEO, Simona Vaitkune, about the Fast Invest story so far and projects ahead.

Online lender Fellow Finance expands to Sweden (Finextra) Rated: A

Fellow Finance launches a new channel for personal financing to Swedish customers and simultaneously an opportunity for its investors to start investing in Swedish consumer loans.

From the launch Fellow Finance will offer its services for individual borrowers and plans to introduce a business loan option for companies in the future.
International

SoftBank Finally Finds A Bargain (Forbes) Rated: AAA

SoftBank continues to make waves by underwriting the valuations of a growing number of turbocharged “unicorns” carrying private values north of $10 billion. It recently bought 15% of Uber at a $48 billion valuation. In partnership with GM, it paid $2.25 billion for a 19.6% stake in Cruise Automation. Masayoshi Son’s conglomerate is also 

20 Best Cryptocurrency Lending & Fiat Loan Blockchain Platforms To Use (Bitcoin Exchange) Rated: A

So cryptocurrency loan platforms solve the liquidity problem that the market has at this moment. But let’s check some of the most popular and known lending coins.

BeeLend-BeeLend is able to connect borrowers and lenders in different countries.

BitBond-In a similar way to BeeLend, Bitbond connects borrowers and lenders on a peer-to-peer basis, allowing users to borrow up to $25,000 dollars.

Bitfinex-This is another platform that works as an exchange but supports fiat and crypto lending.

BlockFiBlocFi, is located in New York and offers users the possibility to borrow money against their BTC and ETH holding in 35 different US states.

Celcius-Born as an ICO that raised over $50 million dollars, it facilitates lending fiat currencies for cryptocurrency holdings as collateral.

Coincheck-The Japanese-based company has been lending cryptocurrencies since a very long time.

India

The rise of P2P lending platforms (Business Line) Rated: AAA

On the other side is 31-year-old Arpit Sabharwal, a Mumbai-based businessman, and lender on P2P platform Faircent. Arpit’s portfolio stands at 4 lakh and returns have been around 17 to 19 per cent. He is now re-allocating some of his mutual fund portfolio to the peer-to-peer lending platform.

But these platforms are not really risk-free. According to officials, the average default rate is in the range of 5-6 per cent.

According to industry insiders, there has been a near 15-20 per cent growth in loan applications and disbursements (across these platforms) on a month-on-month basis in the last one year.

While bigger players such as Faircent are said to be disbursing close to 2 crore a month, others like i2i Funding.com have been disbursing close to 60 lakh to 1 crore on a monthly basis.

Peer-to-peer lending claims its first victims (The Ken) Rated: A

Some of the biggest lenders on peer-to-peer lending marketplaces are staring at defaults from 20% all the way up to 50%. And RBI’s recent regulations are not going to fully fix it

IndiaMoneyMart Launches Loan Help Hotline for Borrowers Trapped in Payday Loan Debt (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Mumbai-headquartered IndiaMoneyMart has launched a Helpline for Loan applicants who are stressed and stuck in payday loan debt trap. Borrowers are welcome to reach out on +91-9082646766 between 11am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.

Latin America

Brazil’s Nubank storms to 1.5m digital account openings (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Brazil-based challenger Nubank has got 1.5 million customers signed up for its digital savings account (“NuConta”) over the last six months.

As reported in October, Nubank started to offer these accounts in addition to its credit card business. The move was designed to provide access to billpay, account-to-account transfers, and the ability to earn more in interest than is available with a regular savings account.

According to the bank, it has transacted around BRL 4 billion ($1 million) in its digital account so far, with over four million credit card customers on its books.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 6 2018, Daily News Digest

paypal active customers

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa reveals where the 3B GBP loanbook gets you. Revolut now operates in the Nordics. MatchMove, Rubique partner on loan payouts, disbursements. Behalf nabs $150M in debt capital. Today’s main analysis: PayPal has another solid quarter of growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why SoFi wants to be a neobank. LendingClub wants to get customers off the […]

paypal active customers

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

What is a neobank, and why does SoFi want to be one? (Bankrate), Rated: AAA

The company, Social Finance (often shortened to SoFi), is set to launch its SoFi Money business in the next few months. With this new product line, the company adds its name to the growing list of so-called “neobanks,” alongside firms like Chime, Simple and Varo Money. If you’re interested, there’s a waiting list for SoFi Money.

However, up until now neobanks have tended to stick to narrowly focused product lines, offering only checking or savings accounts. They have also needed to partner with specialty banks to ensure deposits are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

Should you become a customer, your debit card would say SoFi Money and you’d use the SoFi app to check your balance and call customer service when you have a problem, but your money would be on deposit at WSFS Financial.

LendingClub: Getting Borrowers Off The Credit Hamster Wheel (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Allocca first observed the problem in the late 1990s, when he began to sense a disconnect between the bank’s stated vision and mission to help customers succeed financially — and the actual help and services that were being offered, from credit cards to overdraft fees.

An October 2017 study by PYMNTS and Unifund dubbed these consumers “financial invisibles,” having no (or little) access to further credit when they need it. These consumers live paycheck to paycheck, and the ends just aren’t meeting up. They feel like they could never set aside $300 a month to square away their credit card debt.

Allocca said they can — and they do — and if they get into the habit of setting aside those $300-a-month payments once the debt has been erased, the savings start to build up.

According to the Financial Invisibles Report, even 40 percent of the population that claims not to worry about money still lives paycheck to paycheck, and that’s true across demographics.

LendingClub (LC) Set to Announce Earnings on Monday (Week Herald), Rated: B

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) will be posting its quarterly earnings results after the market closes on Monday, February 12th.

PayPal sees another solid quarter of growth (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

PayPal, which Wednesday, had another quarter of strong growth across metrics.

  • Total payment volume: The firm’s total payment volume (TPV) increased to $131 billion in the quarter, up 29% from the $99 billion it posted in Q4 2016, and a 15% sequential increase. That volume 
    Source: Business Insider

    NYC-Based Behalf Secures $ 150 Million in Debt Capital (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

    Behalf, a provider of working capital solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, announced today that it has secured $150 million in debt financing led by a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC. Viola Credit also participated in the Debt Financing. An equity investment in Behalf was also made by Viola Credit and a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.

    Credit card issuers block bitcoin purchases (Bankrate), Rated: A

    Nearly all of the nation’s largest financial institutions have blocked consumers from being able to buy the volatile cryptocurrency with a credit cardJPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup recently banned credit purchases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, following Capital One and Discover.

    LendEDU, a student loan marketplace, surveyed nearly 700 bitcoin investors in December and asked how they paid for their investment.

    A third used a debit card, and another 19 percent set up an ACH transfer, which is what you’d expect—people tend to fund for their investment portfolio with cash.

    Another 18 percent, though, said they used a credit card. More than a fifth of those respondents said they carried credit card balance as a result of their purchase. Even more troubling, seven out of ten of those who went into debt believed the profit they’d earn from their bitcoin investment would compensate for interest payments.

    Hard Lessons From the Federal Student-Loan Program’s Coming $ 36 Billion Shortfall (WSJ), Rated: AAA

    U.S. officials have long maintained the federal government would make a profit on its $1.4 trillion student loan portfolio or at least break even, but two recent reports suggest just the opposite will be the case. Government lending to college and graduate students could soon become an immense drain on federal coffers, worsening an already deteriorating U.S. budget picture.

    The Education Department’s inspector general, an agency watchdog, in a reportreleased last week said the profitability of the U.S. federal student lending program is being squeezed because millions of Americans who borrowed heavily in recent years—including many graduate students—are flocking into a program to have substantial portions of their debts forgiven. Students who borrowed in the fiscal year ended Sep. 30, 2015, and enrolled in such “income-driven repayment” plans, for example, are expected to pay back $11.5 billion less than they took to pay tuition and other schooling costs.

    The prospect of taxpayer losses on student loans increases the chances that Congress will make major changes to the program, such as eliminating debt-forgiveness options or placing new dollar limits on how much individuals can borrow.

    REWIREMENT IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO RETIREMENT, BUT A PHASE OF GLOBAL EXPLORATION THAT CAN HAPPEN AT ANY AGE (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

    ON DAY 231-237,

    While hiking through a forest in Patagonia, wading over volcanic ash for miles, kayaking around fjords amongst glaciers and jumping off cliffs into roaring rapids I found the space to contemplate more on three of the most common topics of conversation.

    FEAR

    Few know that fear drove me to withdraw from the Prosper deal just days before we were going to invest with Sequoia in January of 2013.

    The fear of failure, fear of change, fear of losing, fear of the unknown; all drove me to say no to the Prosper opportunity that I wanted and had worked so hard on with my business partners.

    Overcoming that fear changed the trajectory of my life and helped shape my own investment philosophy (and the strategy of using an Investment Thesis).

    APPEARANCE

    Things aren’t always as they seem in nature, business, people and life. Keep staring, stay curious but remain open.

    ADAPTING

    Adapting is the ability to adjust and modify one’s self to new conditions and new circumstances, and it’s a proficiency we should nurture as our surroundings change ever more rapidly.

    Matt Hollender of NetCredit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

    In this podcast you will learn:

    • The history of Enova and how they have evolved over time.
    • What was appealing to Matt about taking the helm at NetCredit.
    • Where NetCredit fits in the overall picture at Enova.
    • Who the near prime consumer is they are targeting.
    • The range of loan terms that NetCredit offers.
    • While they don’t have a cutoff by FICO score for who they will serve.
    • How their underwriting process works.
    • The channels they use to find these customers.
    • How they are improving the financial lives of their customers.
    • How their unique bank partnership works and how it allows them to expand their reach.
    • The balance they strike between automation and human intervention in credit decisions.
    • How NetCredit differentiates themselves from their competitors.
    • How they are funding these loans.
    • The scale they are at today.
    • How their MyRightFit tool works during the loan application process.
    • The percentage of their customers that come to them on mobile.
    • What the future holds for NetCredit.

    How Millennial Shoppers Make Purchase Decisions Today (Free Biz Mag), Rated: A

    Millennials have become the most in-demand consumer group among online retailers. Experts estimate they already spend over $1 trillion annually. Savvy eCommerce executives are studying Millennials to understand how to better speak to (and sell to) this growing and highly influential audience. This article discusses:

    1. Actionable tips for improving relationships with Millennial customers
    2. Mistakes many companies make when speaking to Millennials
    3. Factors that make Millennials loyal to certain brands

    Pace of Small Business Investment Remains Strong (PayNet), Rated: A

    Small business investment continued to register gains at the end of 2017 as delinquencies and defaults remained at low levels according to the latest small business credit trends from PayNet, the leading provider of small business credit data and analysis. However, some warning signs in financial health are starting to emerge.

    The December 2017 Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) decreased 1% to 136.5 from 138.5 (revised) in November 2017. Compared to December 2016, the SBLI increased 2%.

    Construction increased +7%, Transportation +13%, and Administrative and Waste Services +5% on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    Weaknesses are primarily in the services sector with declines in Information Services (-8%), Professional Services (-3%), and Health Care (-2%) on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    New Product Alleviates Mortgage Lending Compliance Risk and Worry (PR Newswire), Rated: A

    Financial institution executives in charge of mortgage lending compliance training now have a solution to stay ahead of employee training, certification and licensing requirements with the launch of Compliance Keeper 2.0 by OnCourse Learning Financial Services.

    The new product alleviates mortgage lending compliance issues regularly plaguing compliance officers, such as tracking loan officers’ completed pre-licensing and continuing education courses, compliance report generation, and assessing company risk and liability.

    Mortgage lending compliance made easy
    Compliance Keeper 2.0 empowers financial services compliance departments to administer, schedule, communicate, report and customize employee training programs to ensure compliance and success.

    Additional benefits of the new product are:

    • Mitigation of risk, and time and money savings on audit preparation.
    • Ability to meet state and national regulatory compliance requirements on time.
    • Automatic notifications that alert managers and employees to training and compliance deadlines.
    • Review of all company license information in one dashboard.
    • Actionable insight into employee certification needs.
    • Continuity of training across departments and/or branches.

    Fluz Fluz Blockchain Cashback Platform Aims to Enter and Reshape US Consumer Market (Insider Monkey), Rated: A

    However, one of the most important areas that blockchain technology can and will disrupt in the near future is financial services. Put simply, the technology represents a shared database that contains entries that are incorruptible and immovable and have to be confirmed in order to be added and each entry is logically linked to the previous one. This makes it perfectly suitable for international money transfers, so it’s unsurprising that 90% of major North American and European banks are exploring the use of this technology, according to an Accenture survey.

    According to a PwC report, 77% of financial institutions expect to adopt blockchain technology as soon as 2020.

    Fluz Fluz currently has over 40,000 active users in Colombia, where it launched in January 2017 built by the serial Ecommerce entrepreneurs Maurice Harary and Stefan Krautwald. The company sells instantly usable gift cards from over 200 merchants. Whenever a purchase is made using this card, network participants earn cashable rewards called Fluz, which are stored in mobile wallets. Fluz points can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies or fiat money.

    Verifundr Moved to Next Phase Reports APT Systems (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

    APT SYSTEMS, INC. (OTC Pink: APTY), a fully reporting public company in the Fintech sector, is pleased to announce that it has formally engaged the services of Difitek, Inc. to build the Verifundr escrow and payment platform. We look to Difitek to provide us with a modern framework, architecture and bank grade security features.

     

    The Worst Law Schools If You Ever Want To Pay Off Your Student Loans (Above the Law), Rated: B

    Worst Law School Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    School Avg Salary Avg Debt Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    Florida Coastal $84,664 $158,427 0.5x
    Charlotte School of Law $84,285 $154,802 0.5x
    Saint Thomas $96,356 $175,075 0.5x
    Barry University $86,908 $156,228 0.6x
    Appalachian School of Law $84,366  $143,724  0.6x
    Thomas Jefferson School of Law $101,173 $169,951  0.6x
    Roger Williams School of Law $94,557 $157,494  0.6x
    Elon University $87,680 $145,610  0.6x
    Texas A&M $90,665 $149,042  0.6x
    Arizona Summit f/k/a Phoenix School of Law $96,115  $155,697  0.6x
    United Kingdom

    Zopa reveals where a £3bn loanbook gets you (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    ZOPA investors have funded enough car purchases to fill a traffic queue stretching from London to New Delhi, the platform claims.

    The peer-to-peer lender, which reached £3bn of loans last week, has been disclosing where the funds have ended up.

    Its loanbook has helped get 147,000 cars on the road, the platform revealed in a blog post on its website on Friday.

    Zorin Finance reaches £300m of lending (AltFi), Rated: A

    Zorin Finance, the alternative property lending specialist, has passed £300m of loans funded.

    Five UK FinTechs Leading The Charge In FinTech Fortnight (Forbes), Rated: A

    Today marks the start of FinTech Fortnight, a two-week celebration of the UK’s rapidly-growing FinTech sector.

    Revolut is a mobile-only digital banking app which launched its first UK current accounts in 2017.

    Founded in 2007, FreeAgent provides cloud-based accounting software, specifically for freelancers, micro businesses and accountancy practices.

    Bud is a London start-up that is trying to introduce “tailor-made banking”, by bundling a person’s various financial services, from a credit card with one bank, to a current account with another, into one platform.

    Funding Circle connects investors who wish to lend money directly to small and medium-sized enterprises via its peer-to-peer, alternative financing platform. Since its launch in 2010, investors on the platform have lent more than £3.2bn to UK firms, which has helped more than 33,000 companies access financing.

    Digital-only bank Monzo, began life as a start-up offering a pre-paid debit card.

    Current account customers slapped with an average of £152 in fees last year – here’s how to check what you paid (This is Money), Rated: A

    Plum has launched a Fee Fighter tool you can use to check how much you have handed over in fees yourself.

    Current account customers handed over an average of £152 each in banking fees last year, effectively putting an end to the myth of free banking.

    Given there are around 65 million active current accounts in the UK, this means the banks could have made nearly £10 billion in fees, according to the figures from savings app Plum.

    The research, which looked at 11,217 current accounts, showed that only 7 per cent (770 users) paid no bank fees at all.

    Over half (57 per cent) of the £152 average annual cost to current account customers came from using an overdraft and 56 per cent of account holders, or 6,276 people, used their overdraft, dipping in to the red at least once in the year.

    The next largest slice of the £152 average fee (at 27 per cent) was made up of monthly account charges or unspecified fees – which can include the cost of payments made or bounced by the bank that take you beyond your limit that are are commonly known as paid and unpaid item or transaction fees.

    These payments typically cost between £5 and £10 each.

    Source: This is Money

    R5-SHCH Connect goes live with eight Chinese banks (Finextra), Rated: A

    Theresa May today announced the launch of R5-SHCH Connect, a new service which links banks in China with London’s foreign exchange (FX) market.

    Using R5-SHCH Connect domestic banks in China now have access to the London FX market, recognised as the leading centre for global FX trading. The new service is a partnership between London’s R5 and the Shanghai Clearing House, announced by UK Chancellor Philip Hammond in December as part of the 9th UK China Economic Dialogue.

    European Union

    Red-hot fintech startup Revolut is taking on the Nordics (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

    Stockholm’s hot fintech scene is about to get hotter as Revolut – one of recent years’ biggest fintech sensations – arrives in the Swedish capital to launch its Nordic expansion.

    Since 2015, the startup has acquired some 1,3 million users around the world, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing fintech startups.

    The company, which recently added all the Scandinavian currencies among its basket of 130 global currencies, is now officially live in all the Nordic countries.

    Dutch fintech firm Ohpen raises €25 million to expand into new markets (Tech.eu), Rated: A

    SaaS-based core banking software Ohpen has raised €25 million in a Series C round led by private equity firm Amerborgh.

    Amsterdam’s Ohpen develops software tools used in the financial sector to digitalise services and for moving customers to the cloud. The new funds will be invested in growth and expanding into new markets.

    Finance chiefs warn on Big Tech’s shift to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

    Europe’s introduction this year of “open banking” regulation, which forces lenders to provide access to accounts of customers who authorise it, has left senior bankers worrying that tech groups will cherry-pick the best parts of their business.

    Francisco González, executive chairman of Spanish bank BBVA, has warned that groups such as Facebook and Amazon in the US, and Alibaba and Tencent in China will “replace many banks”. He called on a global body such as the G20 to take action, saying “authorities [need] to bring order to this massive change” that could “pose risks to financial stability”.

    France regulator AMF clarifies its expectations for crowdfunding (LeapRate), Rated: B

    The crowdfunding regulatory framework, which was established in 2014 and updated in 2016, set up different statuses for intermediaries in relation to the marketed products:

    • crowdfunding investment advisors for investments in equity, bonds and “minibons” (interest-bearing notes). They are supervised by the AMF;
    • crowdlending intermediaries for donations or loans – with or without interest. These professionals fall under the jurisdiction of the ACPR.

     

    International

    16 Fintech Startups Deliver $ 12 Billion Financing to Consumers and SMEs in 32 countries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    The conference gathered more than 2,500 delegates from more than 50 countries from the five continents at the old French stock exchange in Paris, France. Alternative finance was one of the many topics addressed – the event spans Fintech and Insurtech and topics ranging from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to Artificial Intelligence and to Regtech.

    • They’re young: The 16 firms are on average 5.5 years old (with the oldest being 12 years old, the youngest not even 2),
    • Very international: They serve on average 4 different countries and together, with much overlap, cover 32 countries on the five continents.
    • Getting big: They have helped finance nearly €9.5 billion ($12 billion) worth of loans, bonds, and private equity for consumers and SMEs.
    • Well-funded: They raised on average $30 million in private equity for themselves

    Panelists Davis Barons, CEO of Creamfinance, Poland; Boris Batin, CEO of ID Finance, Spain; and Mark Ruddock, CEO of 4finance, Latvia, may be the best-kept secrets of global alternative finance. Founded respectively in 2012, 2012, and 2008, these companies have originated loan volumes measured in the €100s of million, and even, in the case of 4Finance, in billions of euros.

    Revolutionize Your Finance Industry Business With FinTech Mobile Apps (Finextra), Rated: A

    With the increased use of mobiles and digital revolution, every business has been disrupted, and financial services are no exception to this. There has been a drastic change in the way people are now accessing financial products and services. Customers are now looking out for FinServes that offer mobile apps and wearable technology to uninsured millennials. Insurance companies associating with FinTechs is on a rise and FinServes are increasingly leveraging new technologies to enhance customer experience. All insurance related process platforms ranging from claims, underwriting, distribution, and brokerage are being automated in innovative ways.

    According to a survey, FinTech is expected to be customer-focus by nearly 75% respondents out the 432 respondents surveyed. About 84% respondents expect that in the next five years, FinTech mobile applications will show the largest growth in usage.

    • Accept the changing market scenario 
    • Invest in technology: You need to implement innovative technology by investing in ventures to sideline your competitors in the FinServe industry.
    • Work in partnership: You need to collaborate with partners beyond the FinServe industry who have experience and can come up with new ways to generate value.
    • Analyse your success goals: So, plan your goals for the future by cautiously investing in digital technologies that are easy to implement and considering the opportunities available for improving business models.

    Challenges faced by InsurTech

    • IT security concerns: The security challenges of the IT industry make it a challenge for customers to enter the FinTech environment with complete reliability.
    • Frictions in customer journey: With the introduction of FinTech, customer expectations have reached a whole new level. However, they still experience a lot of friction throughout their journey as their very high expectations are still not met.
    • New and different business models: As the traditional insurance industry remained unchanged for over a century, the change in business models is not easily acceptable. Failure to meet user’s rapidly changing needs with time creates a challenge for FinTech adoption.
    Australia

    Why property buyers need to know about tax deductions (Domain), Rated: AAA

    According to a recent survey by online lender State Custodians, 61 per cent of respondents don’t know that mortgage interest payments on an investment property are tax deductible.

    A property is said to be negatively geared when expenses exceed rental income, and this net loss can be applied against other income, including salary or business income, to reduce your tax bill.

    Only 23 per cent of people under 35 know interest repayments are tax deductible compared with 44 percent of people aged 35 and over.

    The Australian Tax Office explains what expenses are deductible, but crunching the numbers based on a hypothetical property purchase can help put it into perspective.

    Source: Domain.com.au
    India

    Startup CXOs welcome boost to digital infra, ask for redressal of angel tax (money control), Rated: A

    Even as the government failed to address the issues of angel tax and crowdfunding of startups in Budget 2018, India’s young ventures have welcomed the move to encourage financial-tech sector and healthcare.

    Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub: 

    “The government’s step of introducing LTCG tax of 10 percent on capital gains over Rs. 1 lakh could push investors to go to other fixed income avenues like P2P Lending. The policy will encourage investors to consider P2P lending as an alternate platform to invest and earn profitable returns. The reduction in the Corporate tax to 25 percent also appears as some relief to MSMEs like us.

    The efforts towards creating the right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India will bring in promising growth prospects for P2P lending platforms.”

    Satyam Kumar- CEO and CO-Founder, Loantap: 

    “We are happy that Finance Minister has acknowledged voice from Fintech Industry seeking soft touch approach to regulation and making a strong case for Fintech participation in supporting SME/ MSME growth. Fintech as a segment has been signalled out in this budget with a very clear objective of credit push to the last mile. We see it as strong government backing for the way fintech industry is shaping in India.”

    Asia

    MatchMove and Rubique to Disrupt Loan Payouts and Disbursements (Payments Journal), Rated: AAA

    MatchMove India today announced its partnership with Rubique, India’s leading marketplace for financial services, to transform the current way of paying and disbursing funds to multiple recipients. Rubique’s platform provides a wide range of loan products and end-to-end loan fulfilments to individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (or SMEs) through its wide network of retailers and distributors.

    The globally proven MatchMove Bank Wallet Operating System enables Rubique to pay commissions, incentives and cashbacks to its retailers and distributors securely with just one click.

    India’s lending market is expected to be valued at US$3 trillion by 2026 and this presents a huge opportunity for Rubique.

    To date, Rubique has processed approximately 100,000 applications, disbursed US$345 million worth of loans and signed up about 65,000 cards across 80 financial institutions. Rubique’s business has seen a fourfold increase year-on-year and it plans to increase its footprint from 27 to 100 cities next year.​

    Cayman

    FINTECH POISED TO TRANSFORM FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY (Cayman27), Rated: AAA

    Traditional financial services accounts for around 55% of Cayman’s economy, but emerging technologies – blockchain being one example – are poised to change the industry forever.

    Fintech, a mash-up of finance and technology, is a word we are likely to hear more often in years to come. In the not-so-distant past, Fintech referred to the back-end computer technology used by banks or trading firms. Over the last decade Fintech has evolved to describe a broad variety of technological interventions into personal and commercial finance, and it’s garnering a lot of investment.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 22 2017, Daily News Digest

Marcus

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC addresses risk management for bank-MPL relationships. IFISAs dogged by further delays. Radial integrates with Klarna. Bitbond raises $1.2 mil. Today’s main analysis: Marcus marks the end of traditional banking. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 upcoming changes to private student lending. The Pulse of FinTech infographics. United States OCC establishes risk management expectations for bank-MPL […]

Marcus

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

News Summary

United States

OCC’s Third-Party Risk Management Expectations for Bank Relationships with MPLs (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Rated: AAA

On January 24, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a new bulletin, OCC Bulletin 2017-07 (Supplemental Examination Procedures for Risk Management of Third-Party Relationships). The stated purpose of the bulletin is to assist bank examiners in evaluating the third-party risk management practices of national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks). For the most part, Bulletin 2017-7 reinforces existing OCC supervisory expectations. In several notable respects, however, the bulletin breaks new ground, including by addressing relationships with marketplace lenders.

In establishing risk management expectations for relationships between banks and marketplace lenders in its new bulletin, the OCC is following the lead of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which issued its own supervisory expectations for these relationships in late 2015. As in the case of the FDIC’s guidance, the OCC bulletin broadly defines the term “marketplace lender” to include any “companies engaged in Internet-based lending businesses (other than payday lending).”2 Specific examples of marketplace lenders stated in the OCC Bulletin include online companies that make small business loans, consumer loans, student loans and real estate loans.3

If a bank plans to contract with a marketplace lender to “perform some, if not all operational functions, including processing, underwriting, closing, funding, delivering, and servicing of loans,” OCC Bulletin 2017-7 requires the bank to have sufficient support “systems, controls, and personnel [in place] to adequately support the volume of planned loan origination, servicing, or collection activities.”4 In addition, if the bank is considering contracting with a marketplace lender to originate or purchase loans, the bank must determine whether the lender’s underwriting methods are “new, nontraditional, or different from the bank’s underwriting standards.”5 Finally, if the bank will be investing directly or indirectly in, or will be providing warehouse lines or other credit facilities to, any third-party lender, including a marketplace lender, the bank must determine whether the third-party lender’s underwriting standards are consistent with the bank’s own underwriting standards.6

Goldman Sachs’ Recent Move Marks The End Of Traditional Banking (Newsmax), Rated: AAA

At the end of 2016, Goldman Sachs launched a new online lending platform called Marcus. The move into online lending by one of the most successful investment banks in the world is a telling move for two reasons.

First, it’s a good indicator of the post-financial crisis banking industry.

Second, rising compliance costs—combined with over seven years of zero-interest rate policy from the Fed—was a bad environment for bankers.

Peer-to-peer lending has grown from nothing a decade ago to be a $26 billion industry in 2015. However, it still only accounts for 2% of the market for unsecured consumer credit.

Goldman Sachs is using Finacle, a software program owned by Infosys, to run the Marcus lending platform. With this software, Marcus customers will be able to fully customize their loan parameters within guidelines set by the bank.

Gone are the days of negotiating with a banker on loan terms. The Finacle software is fully automated and will process the transactions in real time. It’s a fully operational “bank within a bank” that only relies on approximately 200 Goldman employees, according to Bloomberg.

Marcus is not a peer-to-peer lending platform. Instead, Goldman will be making loans against its own balance sheet. This will give the bank more flexibility with setting competitive loan terms and fees.

According to a Morgan Stanley report published in 2015, the effective annual interest on the peer-to-peer lending platforms analyzed was on average 6.8% lower than those offered by banks.

All the while, P2P lending platforms have historical net annualized returns between 5% and 10%. Compare that to investing in a 5-year US Treasury note that yields less than 2% today, below the reported rate of inflation, and can you see why Goldman Sachs got involved with online lending.

3 Upcoming Changes in Private Student Lending (US News), Rated: AAA

In fact, the day after Trump was elected to office, the stock price for Sallie Mae Corp., a large student loan lender, shot up nearly double from $7.10 per share on Election Day to $12.47 on Feb. 15.

For prospective private student loan borrowers, here are a few expectations that experts say consumers may see in the next year or two as a result of changes at the federal level.

1. More lenders entering the private student loan market: Matherson says easing of lending restrictions will lead to more lenders entering the marketplace over the next two years.

Experts say large commercial banks that left the private student lending market after the 2008 financial crises may also return.

2. Interest rate hikes for both variable and fixed-rate private loans:The Federal Reserve is signaling that it’s on course to raise the short-term interest rate this year.

Lending experts say they expect to see a 1 percent rise in interest rates for private student loans over the next two years. Those increases, they say, will affect both variable and fixed-term rates on private education loans.

3. A growing number of start-ups offering income-shared agreements: Under an income-shared agreement or ISA, students use funds from an investor to pay for college and in turn agree to make payments based on a percentage of their income for a set period of time after they graduate.

Casey Jennings, chief operating officer at nonprofit 13th Avenue Funding, which works with low-income students, says clarification of the legislation will make it much easier for financial and educational institutions to enter this space.

Prosper Marketplace President Ron Suber Joins Unison as an Investor and Strategic Advisor (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Unison Home Ownership Investors, the leading provider of home ownership investments, announced today that Ron Suber, president of Prosper Marketplace, has become an investor in the company and has taken on a significant advisory role as the company is experiencing a period of unparalleled growth, opportunity and availability.

A financial services industry veteran, Suber brings to Unison a wealth of experience across multiple disciplines. As an influencer in the financial technology space, Suber will look to grow the home ownership investment category through his relationships with marketplace lenders, mortgage companies, realtor groups and banks.

LendIt Announces 2017 PitchIt Finalists (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, today announced eight finalists for its fifth PitchIt @ LendIt competition. In partnership for the first time with 500 Startups, the world’s leader in investing and mentoring, and sponsored by Marqeta, PitchIt is a leading global competition for fintech startups to earn mentorship, endorsement and exposure to institutions, investors and broad visibility.

This year’s finalists were chosen from nearly 300 high caliber applicants covering all areas of fintech including insurtech, blockchain, payments, online lending, credit and artificial intelligence.

The eight 2017 PitchIt finalists are:

  • Nova Credit
  • StackSource
  • Alloy.co
  • Qwil
  • Aella Credit
  • Real Atom
  • Float Credit
  • WeTrust Platform

The finalists will pitch their concepts at LendIt USA 2017 on March 7 to a panel of judges from the venture capital community including: David Teten, ff Venture Capital; Kareem Zaki, Thrive Capital; Ben Malka, F-Prime; and Joel Monegro, Union Square Ventures.

Kabbage preps small business loan deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online small business lender Kabbage is marketing a $500m securitization of loans to small and medium sized businesses which will be used to refinance an existing deal from 2014.

Guggenheim is the sole lead of the $500m deal, which is expected to officially begin marketing to investors in the week of March 6.

Kroll Bond Ratings has assigned an A rating to the $370.37m ‘A’ notes, and BBB to the $79.37m ‘B’ notes.

Marketplace deals readied, with innovations (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: A

Kabbage is marketing its first marketplace loan ABS of the year and its second since inception. Meanwhile, SoFi is in the market with its second consumer loan ABS – SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-2 – backed by US$343m of consumer loans and comprising several elements that differ from its previous securitisation.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Arcadia Receivables Credit Trust 2017-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to two classes of notes issued by Arcadia Receivables Credit Trust 2017-1 (“ARCT 2017-1”). This is a $213.137 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close March 6, 2017.

This transaction is the first rated securitization of prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub Corporation’s (“Lending Club” or the “Company”) proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com(the “Lending Club Platform” or the “Platform”).

Why big banks are helping financial tech startups (Tradestreaming), Rated: A

Finlab, short for Financial Solutions Lab, is an 8-month startup accelerator program funded by JPMorgan Chase and run by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. It just sent out its third call for applications from financial technology startups working on tools for underserved populations. It’s an example of how banks are now partnering rather than competing with startups — a trend that’s grown quickly over the past couple of years.

Finlab began two years ago, and winners get $250,000 of capital, one-on-one mentorship and networking opportunities. About eight or nine winners are picked each round. Winners participate in a series of workshops across the country on how to grow their businesses, including a session on regulation.

Big banks are likely to keep supporting these programs — not only for relationship building, but also because startups are working on areas major banks aren’t addressing, said Gilbert.

4 Real Estate Crowdfunding Trends You Should Be Watching (Forbes), Rated: A

Real estate is one of the fastest growing markets to take on the concept of crowdfunding and apply it in a new way.

Here are four emerging trends in real estate crowdfunding to watch this year.

  1. Regulation Brings Crowdfunding to Maturity. Today, crowdfunding has matured and investors are more intrigued than they are skeptical. This is due, in large part, to the JOBS Act and the enactment of Regulation A+. It legitimized the industry and it has been growing ever since.
  2. Foreign Investment in Real Estate Is Booming. According to The Guardian, a recent U.S. real estate study showed that Chinese investors have poured $110 billion dollars into the U.S. market in the last 5 years (both commercial and residential). This investment is set to double in the next 5 years. Because of foreign investment expansion in the U.S., it’s relatively safe to assume that a portion of those dollars will go into alternative funding options like real estate crowdfunding.
  3. Wealthy Millennials Are Investing Their Money Differently. However, with the influx of unicorn technology companies and the increase of millennial millionaires, the need to put their money somewhere is still very much on their minds. Real estate crowdfunding has the potential to help them share the wealth while staying true to their sensibilities.
  4. Crowdfunding for Retirement. Those considering real estate investing, especially through crowdfunding platforms, could potentially improve their rate of return with tax efficient strategies, more specifically IRA’s. Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow those saving for retirement to invest in real estate right from the golf course, with just a few clicks on their phone or tablet.

PeerStreet’s CEO Brew Johnson Talks Real Estate Crowdfunding Market (Forbes), Rated: A

The company was founded by former Google executive Brett Crosby and real estate attorney Brew Johnson. By the end of 2016, the company originated more than $200 million.

Johnson: The biggest differentiators between PeerStreet and other players are pretty simple: (i) our platform is very focused on one asset – first-lien debt. We think creating this focus at the outset is important in delivering value to users. And most importantly, (ii) we don’t originate loans directly to borrowers, but rather we aggregate loans from a distributed network of lenders, curate those loans, and then make it easy for investors to invest in them.

Johnson: We exceeded $200 million in origination volume by the end of 2016. Our KPIs are based on loan volume and quality.

Johnson: We maintain focused on our core asset: short-term, first position lien loans. Our data continue to show that this asset provides favorable risk-return profiles for investors, so 2017 is about growing our loan volume in order to serve even more investors.

Johnson: I think there are opportunities of various sizes across the industry. That said, a couple that I find particularly interesting are the potential implications for a more robust rating and credit scoring of alternative lending investments across platforms and those of creating a truly efficient secondary market or exchange that enables investors to seamlessly trade in and out of positions.

Misys Targets Offerings for P2P Lending (Intralinks), Rated: B

Traditionally focused on treasury and capital markets solutions, Misys revised its focus to include solutions that would allow banks to branch into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, as well as an offering for machine learning that would detect anomalies in trading patterns.

Altisource’s Premium Title Announces Integration with LendingQB’s Loan Origination System (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Premium Title, a national provider of title and escrow services, announced today its integration with LendingQB’s end-to-end, browser-based loan origination system (LOS). The integration can help provide customers with the ability to obtain title and settlement quotes faster, place orders with Premium Title and receive a title fee certificate guaranteeing fees for 30 days, all without leaving the LendingQB platform.

This integration, gives Premium Title clients the capability to experience a seamless and more efficient process within the LendingQB LOS platform. Lenders using LendingQB can receive an automated quote for title services and a title fee certificate guaranteeing title fees, which auto-populates into the LOS. LendingQB can also maintain the loan estimate and any adjustments in fees associated with the loan, assisting with TRID compliance and faster disclosure timelines.

United Kingdom

Innovative Finance Isas dogged by further delays (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The Innovative Finance Isa was officially launched by former chancellor George Osborne in July 2015, putting peer-to-peer lending platforms — where individual investors are matched with interest-paying borrowers — on a level playing field with traditional savings and investment products which can be held within an Isa wrapper.

A year on, the FCA has still yet to grant the bulk of peer-to-peer lenders, including the three largest — Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter — the authorisation they need to launch an Innovative Finance Isa in time for the new tax year in April.

These three peer-to-peer platforms account for more than 40 per cent of the UK’s market share by loan origination, according to AltFi data, having lent nearly £6bn combined.

Chatbot savings app Plum partners P2P lender Ratesetter (Finextra), Rated: AAA

British AI-powered savings Facebook Messenger chatbot Plum is to start steering users that are willing to take on risk in exchange for higher interest rates to P2P lender Ratesetter.

According to Moneyfacts, the average UK rate on easy-access accounts is 0.15%, while the average return earned by RateSetter investors to date is 4.7%.

The money goes into users’ Plum savings account but the Ratesetter deal means that people can also now choose to earn a better rate – if they are willing to take on the associated risk.

Zopa Named Best Personal Loan Provider & Best Alternative Finance Provider at the 2017 British Bank Awards (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s very first peer to peer lending platform, announced on Monday it was named Best Personal Loan Provider & Best Alternative Finance Provider at the 2017 British Bank Awards.

This news comes just a few weeks after Zopa was named Personal Loan Provider of the Year at the Consume MoneyFacts Awards for the fourth year in a row.

Zopa recently announced it topped £2 billion in lending.  According to information provided by the online lending platform, as of today, the lender matched over 246,000 borrowers to 75,000 investors to provide access to capital in the form of loans.

RateSetter Borrowers Have Paid Back £1 Billion, Investors Have Earned £63 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender RateSetter has said it has now collected £1 billion in capital repayments from borrowers since its first loan back in 2010. Overall, RateSetter has originated approximately £1.75 billion in loans while paying out £63 million in interest.  The average interest rate ranged between 3.1% on the Rolling market and 6.0% for the 5 Year market. In 2016, total lending was pegged at £668 million.

Awareness of P2P drops north of London (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

AWARENESS of peer-to-peer finance products among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is at its lowest in the Midlands and the north of England, the British Business Bank (BBB) has revealed.

The figures, revealed in its latest annual Small Business Finance Markets report, showed fewer than 40 per cent of firms in the Midlands were aware of P2P lending, compared with almost 60 per cent in London.

Around half of firms in the south of England were aware of P2P, while just 40 per cent of firms in the north had come across it.

Despite the varying levels of awareness, the report found annual lending through P2P platforms increased by 34 per cent to £3.9bn in 2016. Business lending made up £1.3bn of that amount.

SME Loan Fund plans break with GLI in bid for scale (Citywire), Rated: A

The SME Loan Fund (SMEF +), the small directing lending investment trust set up by GLI Finance, plans to break ties with its founder in a bid to gain scale.

The trust launched in 2015 amid a boom in peer-to-peer lending launches, yet was able to raise just £12.4 million capital. Assets currently stand at £53 million, mostly from an initial portfolio of loans transferred by GLI Finance (GLIF +) as part of the launch.

The SME Loan Fund said that GLI had agreed to sell its 48% stake in the trust through a placing. Should the placing prove successful, the SME trust will switch management from Amberton Asset Management, 50% owned by GLI. If it is not, the board will propose the wind-up of the trust.

GLI Finance, an investment trust in its own right, said it would use the money from a share sale to repay a £14.9 million loan to strengthen its balance sheet.

Most board members of P2P trusts have skin in the game (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE MAJORITY of board members of peer-to-peer investment trusts have “skin in the game”, research has revealed.

Canaccord Genuity research has assessed the pay and investments of board members of investment trusts. The analysis included funds focused on the P2P sector.

It showed that the highest annual pay packet among P2P investment trusts is £50,000, taken by the chairmen of the Funding Circle SME Income Fund and Victory Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending.

Samir Desai, co-founder of the Funding Circle platform, who sits on the investment trust’s board, has put £152,775 into the fund.

This is the highest among its board members, followed by £110,349 invested by non executive director Frederic Hervouet. The Funding Circle SME Income Fund board chairman Richard Boleat takes the highest annual fee on the board at £50,000 and has invested £5,157.

The trust’s board members Jonathan Bridel and Richard Burwood, both non-executive directors, have also invested £5,157 and their annual fee is £40,000 and £30,000 respectively.

Desai does not take a fee and Hervouet has an annual fee of £35,000.

European Union

Radial payments platform integrates with Klarna (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payments providers, and Radial, the leader in omnichannel commerce technology and operations, today announced a new partnership to further expand Radial’s payment options.

The integration of Klarna with Radial’s Payment platform enables clients and prospects to offer a financing option at checkout to give customers more choice and could give retailers a 58 percent higher order value.

Financing a purchase over time has historically been optimized for brick and mortar stores. The online equivalent, however, can often be an ordeal, with redirects, lengthy forms and unclear information. Klarna’s process only requires a few fields of information, and lets customers know instantly if they qualify for the financing solution.

International

Bitbond raises $ 1.2 million to grow SME lending platform (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Global SME lending platform Bitbond today announced the closing of an equity funding round of $1.2 million (€1.1 million).

This round brings Bitbond’s raised equity capital to a total of $2.3 million.

Led by mobilike founder Şekip Can Gökalp, a number of business angels contributed to the round. Among them were Fyber founders Janis Zech and Andreas Bodczek as well as Kreditech co-founder & CEO Alexander Graubner-Müller.

Bitbond will use the additional funds for further product development and to grow its user base in markets which are underserved by traditional lenders. Over 1,600 loans worth $1.2 million were originated on Bitbond since its launch. 76,000 users from 120 countries registered with the service to date.

Infographics – The Pulse of Fintech – Q4 2016 (KPMG), Rated: AAA

According to The Pulse of Fintech, after 2015’s record-setting $46.7 billion in global funding to fintech companies, 2016 brought reality back to the market with an almost 50 percent slide in fintech investment.

Australia

Australia weathers fintech slump (The Australian), Rated: A

Global investment in fintech companies almost halved last year as “froth” comes out of the burgeoning industry and investors wait to see if they can successfully disrupt incumbents such as banks and insurers, according to a new report.

Fintech investment funding declined to $US24.7 billion ($32.17bn) last year from a bumper $US46.7bn in 2015, driven by fewer merger and acquisitions, and private equity investments, KPMG found.

However, the less mature Australian fintech industry bucked the trend as investment soared to a record high of $626 million last year, up from $185m in 2015 and $461m in 2014.

In contrast, corporate venture capital arms — those owned by banks and other incumbents — played a bigger role in the market, expanding investment to $US8.5bn from $US4.9bn. Australia’s institutions, including National Australia Bank, are increasingly investing in fintech via internal VC arms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor